Working from home and running a business from home are similar but different. There are some practical considerations that apply to both (for example heating and lighting costs). There are, however, some considerations that only apply to running a business from home. Here are the four main ones.
This may seem like a surprising place to start but it should be your first consideration. Your local authority, landlord/mortgage-lender, HOA, and insurer(s) will all have a say in whether you can run a business from your home.
In general, you can expect them to be fine with it provided that there is a low risk of damage to your home and/or inconvenience to anyone else. This means you need to think about what issues your business might cause and, where necessary, show how you’ll deal with them.
This should be your next consideration. You might want to consider getting a PO box to minimize the number of people who get access to your street address. It’s also a good idea to have a separate phone/cell number and email for your business. Using a VoIP number can often be more convenient than installing a new landline.
Depending on the nature of your business, you might want to consider having a safe installed. This might be useful to protect important documents and storage media if you have a fire/flood as well as keeping them safe from theft. If you’re having people visit you at your home for business then you need to think about how you’re going to manage them.
Building a team
Even if you are your business, there’s a good chance you’ll benefit from a backup team. For example, you might want help with filing tax returns, understanding the law as relates to your business or just handling general admin. That could mean anything from handling your customer-service channels to dealing with the Yelp extortion scam.
You’ll need to decide if you want your team at your home. If you do then you need to figure out how to create a productive and secure workspace for them. If you don’t, then you need to work out if you can have them work remotely or if you need to find some other meeting place.
Your backup plan(s)
If you work in a location other than your home, your backup plan is probably to work from your home. If, however, you regularly work in your home then you need an alternative Plan B. There will generally be two parts to this.
Part one is to think about what you will do if your internet goes down. Getting a backup connection is usually easy enough but it’s best to organize it in advance. In a pinch, you may be able to get away with using your phone’s data. This can, however, quickly get very inconvenient. A mobile WiFi device is generally a much better option.
Part two is to think about what you will do if you need to vacate your home completely. Ideally, you’ll be able to decamp to another location quickly and pick up where you left off. Again, this isn’t usually difficult but it does take prior organization.